07/06/2018
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Book Review: Spitfire Singh

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Author: Mike Edwards

Reviewed by: Duncan Evans

There’s a quote that comes with this book about Harjinder Singh, an Indian serving with the RAF and a leading figure in the Indian Air Force, that says everything you need to know about the prevailing viewpoint of the authorities towards Britain’s jewel in the crown: ‘Indians will not be able to fly and maintain military aeroplanes. It’s a man’s job; and all you have done is bring the greatest disgrace on yourselves.’ 

So said Air Marshall Sir John Steele, who was in charge of the air force in India in 1934. Against this background of outright racism Harjinder proved himself an exceptional engineer by designing, building and flying two test aircraft. He also rebuilt two bomber squadrons from scratch. 

This weighty book takes you on his journey through the ranks and does it with plenty of personal detail about the characters he worked with. What comes over in spades is his work ethic and patience in dealing with endless challenges he had to face. A great read and a worthy story.


• Bloomsbury
• 410 pages • Paperback • £12.99

 

As reviewed in The Armourer March 2018

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